MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi has seen a surge in high-level assassinations at the hands of radical Islamists over the past few days, a RIA Novosti source reported Monday.
Reports of attempted assassinations on members of Libyan security agencies and government officials started flowing in on October 4 as Libya celebrated the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, the source said.
Most recently, Islamists launched a string of attacks on Benghazi security officials over the weekend, killing several police officers. A local resident was found dead inside his car, the Libyan Red Crescent aid organization said.
As of now, Benghazi, Tripoli and Darnah are dominated by Islamist insurgents. Local witnesses say militants are tightening control on the media, while a security vacuum in turmoil-ridden cities is allowing extremists to run amok, with killings of local government officials and attacks on police units occurring on a regular basis. Local residents also talk of deteriorating religious tolerance and a sharp rise in Islamist propaganda in the area.
The country has seen the turmoil escalate, prompting renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar to mount a military campaign in May, dubbed "Operation Libya's Dignity," to root out radical insurgency. He managed to rally Libyan armed forces led by the country’s army chief Gen. Abdul Razzaq Nazouri. Islamists, who hold the city of Tobruk, responded with a retaliatory operation called “Libya Dawn.”
Tobruk, which is located some 140 kilometers away from the Egyptian border, has also become home to members of the Libyan parliament after radical Islamist militias forced troops loyal to the newly-elected parliament out of the Libyan capital Tripoli.
In a new development, Sky News Arabia reported Monday that Islamic State fighters who are believed to be fighting alongside Libya Dawn militants had been spotted in the port city of Darnah in eastern Libya. According to Sky News footage, militant groups operating in Darnah have been making use of IS symbols.